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Simple & Crisp fruit crackers review and recipes

One of the new snacks of 2013 that I had the pleasure of sampling at the International Food Bloggers Conference was launched in Seattle just 10 months ago - Simple & Crisp dried fruit crisps.

I was kindly sent a variety of fruit crisps to try at home, with an invitation to create some perfect pairing recipes to go with these naturally gluten & dairy-free alternative to the same old cracker appetizer base. My package contained the apple, orange and pear crisps and I had fun experimenting with flavours until I found three unique pairings to bring to a party for my friends to try.

Chocolate-Dipped Pear Crisps

The simplest pairing of the three was the most popular at our party tasting, and the Chocolate-Dipped Pear Crisps were a big hit with everyone. I used high-quality Scharffen Berger chocolate, another Seattle-born company, and simply melted the chocolate in 30 second increments in the microwave until smooth, then dipped each pear crisp in the melted chocolate and cooled them on a baking rack before serving.

Maple Cinnamon Cream Cheese Apple Crisps

I went for Canadian apple crumble flavours with this sweet appetizer using the apple crisps. I used one cup of room temperature cream cheese and whisked in 1 tablespoon of Maple Syrup and 1 teaspoon of Cinnamon until smooth, then piped it onto the apple crisps and topped each with finely chopped almonds.

Duck a L'Orange Crisps

My third pairing for the crisps was also my most ambitious, but as soon as I tasted the orange crisps I knew I wanted to attempt a Duck a L'Orange appetizer that would compliment a sophisticated holiday appetizer platter. Although it takes a while to roast a duck leg in the oven, I was surprised at how easy it was and also quite inexpensive - one locally-raised duck leg was $3.50 and had enough meat for 20 appetizers.

How to make this yourself? Begin by slow-roasting a duck leg sprinkled with salt in a small dish at 300 degrees for one hour to render down the fat, then increasing the temperature to 375 and roasting for another 1/2 hour until the skin is crispy and golden brown. After letting the duck rest, remove crispy skin and drain off the fat and save for making future gourmet roast potatoes. Eat the crispy skin without shame, it's delicious, then shred the tender meat and set aside.

In a small saucepan, heat the juice of one orange with 1 teaspoon orange zest and 2 teaspoons cornstarch on medium low heat, stirring gently until the sauce begins to thicken. Add the shredded duck meat and cook together on low until the duck is coated in orange sauce, then season with a pinch of salt and grind of fresh pepper. Let the orange-flavoured duck cool slightly before topping the orange crisps.

My friends had mostly very positive reactions to the fruit crisps and my pairings of choice. Some of the tasters felt that the pith on the orange crisps gave the appetizers a bitter flavour, while others said they tasted no bitterness and enjoyed the pith and rind's texture and flavour. One thing that makes some initially shy away from the fruit crisps is the fact that the entire fruit is dried, which means there are seeds and husks dried along with the crackers. I tapped out most seeds easily before plating the appetizers, but a few guests did complain about the apple seed husks being a bit sharp.

The fact that this is a 'cracker' that anyone can eat, regardless of gluten or dairy dietary restrictions, is a big pro for Simple & Crisps and a reason to keep a few boxes in your cupboard for entertaining. The crisps are also naturally very pretty, and look attractive and festive on a party table.

To learn more about Simple & Crisp crackers and check out the extensive perfect pairing list with wine, cocktail, appetizer and dessert pairings, visit their website here. I love how the orange crisps look topping cupcakes on the website, and will definitely try that and some of the other pairings for future holiday parties.


Disclaimer: I received these Simple & Crisp fruit crisps for sampling and review, but have not been compensated for this post and all product opinions are my own.

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